What is an oral screening? Do you know why oral cancer screening is important? Where do you gain this screening and what else do you need for your best oral health? For answers to these questions, keep reading and talk to your family dentist.
Oral screenings are non-invasive exams conducted by your dental hygienist and dentist at each dental visit. These important screenings help find signs of cancer early, just as they help you fight tooth decay or gum disease before these conditions worsen.
Why Oral Cancer Screening Is Important
To understand why oral cancer screening is important, let’s get to know more about oral cancer. This is the disease your dentist looks for when conducting a routine oral screening. Oral cancer affects the tissues and structures of your throat and oral cavity. But due to its closeness to your neck lymph nodes, oral cancer not caught early easily spreads to other parts of your body.
About 40,000 Americans experience oral cancer each year. One in five of these dies of the disease. It is a difficult cancer to diagnose. It is also difficult to treat.
So oral cancer sounds like a small problem at face value. But it is one of the most sinister types of cancer. But you do stand a good chance of fighting your oral cancer if it is found early by your dentist. This is why oral cancer screening is important, also why your dentist does these exams whether you realize it or not.
Causes of Oral Cancer
The causes of oral cancer are not yet clearly understood. But there are clear risk factors for developing this disease. Two significant contributors to the disease are genetics, which you cannot prevent, and lifestyle. Lifestyle risk factors are entirely preventable.
Common lifestyle risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Chewing tobacco
- Cigar, pipe or cigarette smoking
- Using e-cigarettes
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
For some people, HPV does not go away on its own. This disease is a common virus affecting 95 percent of the population. For those who do not stop experiencing the symptoms of HPV, oral cancer sometimes forms. You can avoid this risk in young people by ensuring your children receive the HPV vaccine.
Signs of oral cancer often go undetected. This is why your dentist gets involved and also why oral cancer screening is important. But signs you possibly notice after the disease takes hold include:
- Puffy, bleeding gums
- Sores on the lips, tongue or cheeks
- Discolored thickening of gums, cheeks, and oral tissues
- Swollen lymph nodes in your throat
Getting the Oral Cancer Screening You Need in Orlando
At your Orlando family dentist, you need oral cancer screening and other dental examinations for healthy teeth and gums. Dental services you possibly need or want also include:
To understand why oral cancer screening is important in your family’s future, talk to your dentist S. Keith Mahan, DDS. Schedule your next visit now by calling 407-706-3873.